The National Equipment Register, National Insurance Crime Bureau and Pennsylvania State Police are investigating a nationwide case of stolen skid-steers. So far, 33 units valued at a total of $350,000 have been recovered. According to the report, in July, a buyer in rural Lancaster County, Pa., called police when he received a suspicious sale offer. After first discovering 30 stolen vehicles on a nearby farm, officials are contacting owners by searching NER's database of 25,000 loss reports and eight million preregistered vehicles. A spokesman for NICB says the main suspect in question has a prior history of equipment theft.

Robert M. Bryant, NICB president and CEO, says the collaborative effort was "critical in successfully fighting insurance crime." Glen Sider, NER operations manager, says theft accounts for 50% of all equipment-related insurance claims, costing the construction industry $1 billion in losses each year. Insurers estimate these cases increase annually as much as 20% but only 10 to 15% of all stolen equipment is typically recovered.